So, I’ve kind of been waiting for this one ever since Not Your Kind of People was released in 2012. That album came at a perfect time in my life and it just reinforced the fact that I could always count on Garbage to produce a collection of songs that would literally sing to me. Listening to Strange Little Birds lying on my bed, I feel the same way as I did in exactly the same position thousands of miles away in 1995 when I listened to Garbage's first record. The fact that a band could do that to me at 17 was pretty normal seeing as I was an angsty teen obsessed with girl fronted rock bands, but that they can twist my stomach in the same, good, way 21 years later is pretty spectacular.
Strange Little Birds is so REAL, the lyrics dig deep. Our Shirley is really letting loose here, it feels like she's finally letting go of every dark thought she has ever carried and handing it over to us. I’ve always related to most of Garbage’s songs, so I’m not surprised at how much I relate to nearly every song on this album, but I feel there is some kind of inner peace at work within the band. They are doing what they love to do, giving the fans a huge dose of what they want, and not worrying about what anyone else thinks. I love it. Deep, dark and proud.
Shirley is an amazing artist, her voice is both beautiful and powerful (it's even better live by the way), but Garbage has never been just her. The band a so TOGETHER, so cohesive, they seem to feed off of each other, know exactly what they want to create, together, as one. Their sound is always polished but raw at the same time. Shirley Manson, Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig are a real powerhouse of creativity, always giving us a bunch of anthems that you are never really able to categorize. One moment they are pure rock, another electronica, another pop, with a bit of trip hop and shoegaze thrown in there.
Having already listened to Strange Little Birds quite a few times, I still can’t pinpoint my favourites, but that may be because I love the album as a whole, and I also feel like I can listen to each song separately, as its own entity.
In Sometimes I feel like the band is talking directly to me (sometimes I feel like I vanished in thin air, sometimes I feel I'm not here), the eerie melody resonating so well with the vocals, twisting the knife in a little further into the heart. Empty could have been an outtake from 1995, it’s a serious classic Garbage stomping sound, and comes across just as well as it would have back then.
I love the electronic vibe on If I Lost You, slow and trippy. I love those Garbage songs that have the more poppy vibe, mainly because I have always felt uncomfortable admitting that I like them, just because I love stompy badass girl rock. But Garbage is just as badass in its poppy sound as it is in its rock sound. This one is kind of trip hoppy. Love it.
Who can't relate to Night Drive Loneliness?! It's sad, it's beautiful and it's life. Who hasn't felt like this before?! Of those stupid things that I've said, there's one thing I regret, in the moment that I said it, I wanted to kill it, I still feel sick about it. And Even Though Our Love Is Doomed rises and rises from deep down and makes me cry.
And then you come to So We Can Stay Alive with its electronic rock sound, makes you want to dance along with those awesome guitar riffs, shredding with the beats. When you finally get to Amends it feels like you have been pulled through a wringer, but in a GOOD way; music always tends to help me let go in a way. Therapeutic for those who create and for those who listen.
So it's a shame that we don't talk, I miss your face and life is short, get off your cross cause long goodbyes, come every time, come every time
I feel like I can always count on Garbage to deliver an album that delivers exactly what I need right THEN. An album that I'm going to know off by heart before long and give to my girls because they will also love it, even though they don't yet know it.
Road trip with your best friend, the wind in your hair and an adventure in your mind anyone?
Strange Little Birds was released today, June 10th, on Garbage's own label, Stunvolume.